This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol3", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Annual erect mostly branched herbs, with opposite leaves, and yellow blue violet or variegated flowers, in terminal 1-sided leafy-bracted spikes, or solitary in the upper axils. Calyx compressed, 4-toothed, much inflated, membranous and conspicuously veiny in fruit. Corolla very irregular, 2-lipped, the upper lip (galea) compressed, arched, minutely 2-toothed below the entire apex, the lower lip 3-lobed, shorter, the lobes spreading. Stamens 4, didy-namous, ascending under the galea; anthers pilose, the sacs obtuse at the base, transverse, distinct. Capsule orbicular, flat, loculicidally dehiscent, several-seeded. Seeds nearly orbicular, winged. [Greek, nose-flower, from the beaked corolla.]
About 3 species, natives of the northern hemisphere. Type species: Rhinanthus Crista-galli L.
Rhinanthus Crista-galli L. Sp. Pl. 603. 1753. Rhinanthus minor Ehrh. Beitr. 6: 44. 1791.
Glabrous, or pubescent above; stem slender, usually branched, 6'-18' high, the branches erect or ascending. Leaves lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, sessile, coarsely serrate-dentate, acute or obtuse, 1 '-2' long, 2"- 4" wide; bracts broader, ovate, or ovate-lanceolate, incised-dentate, the teeth acuminate or subulate-tipped; flowers yellow, 6"-8" long; corolla-tube longer than the calyx, commonly with a purple spot on one or both lips, the teeth of the upper lip broad; fruiting calyx ovate-orbicular, 4"-6" in diameter; capsule orbicular, or broader, nearly as broad as the calyx, very flat, not oblique, Newfoundland and Labrador to Alaska and Oregon, south to Quebec, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, New York and in the Rocky Mountains to New Mexico; on the Atlantic Coast from Connecticut to New Brunswick. Common in northern Europe and Asia. Consists of several races, sometimes regarded as species, differing in habit and in color of the corolla-lips. Called yellow cockscomb, also rattle-bags. Penny-grass. Money-grass. June-Aug.
Rhinthus major Ehrh., found many years ago in fields at Plymouth, Massachusetts, differs in having the teeth of the upper corolla-lip elongated, its flowers somewhat larger. It is a native of Europe.